If my hand had fallen into yours earlier, I might
                                   still be holding you.
I’ll always remember what you told me:
In order to build a castle, learn how to build a
                                                      house first.
I’m excited and nervous at the same time.
I can’t wait to come home.
Listening to your echoes surrounding me.
Curiosity and patience grow longer

from ‘The Pieces’, a group poem by students at John Morony Correctional Centre

 

Our approach

A creative literacy program delivered in collaboration with NSW Correctional Centres, Unlocked offers a unique opportunity to explore the social value of poetry and creative expression. Australian poets, rappers and hip hop artists are taken into correctional centres to run intensive writing workshops. Poets work with the students at every stage of the writing process, from initial exercises and experimentations, to editing, recording, performing and publishing their work in a professionally designed print anthology.

 

Origins of Unlocked

The Red Room Company believes that poetry has the power to transform lives. Through creative education programs like Unlocked we work to enhance literacy and expression for some of the most socially marginalised members of our community. Since launching the program in 2010 we have run 15 programs with 8 poets in 10 locations across NSW, earning a strong reputation within the corrective services community as a valuable and innovative literacy program. These programs have brought poetry to the lives of over 100 inmates and juveniles, providing opportunities for creative expression and reflection through the reading, writing and sharing of poetry. Click here to find out what to expect from an Unlocked program. 

 

Outcomes

"As both a university educator and a poet, I can honestly say that this was the most significant teaching experience of my career"  
–  Lindsay TuggleUnlocked poet

"My experience working in these centres and seeing the positive impact the workshops had on inmates' personal abilities and confidence, and their relationships with one another is possibly the most rewarding opportunity I have ever had" 
–  Nick Bryant-Smith (aka SOLO), Unlocked poet

"The poetry produced by inmates in our centre captured the unspoken stories of their lives, of their hopes and dreams that have never been realised or shared, of death, lost love and the dark days of incarceration. Their words revealed their humanity and gave me a window through which I could understand and engage them at a much deeper level. Seeing the world through their poems has opened the door to a much richer and more meaningful dialogue with each of them allowing for positive changes-a reframing of self- to take place in their lives.”
– Tim Wilson, Chaplain, Compulsory Drug Treatment Correctional Centre 

 

Our Support

The Unlocked project is funded in part by Anne Kantor, we welcome new supporters of this transformational program. For more information on supporting The Red Room Company, click here. 

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education through VET National Programs Funding. unlocked is also supported by 2SER's Jailbreak radio show. 

 

For more information

Contact Executive Director, Dr Tamryn Bennett | 02 9319 5090.